I’ve been feeling off-center for the last few days. There is an uneasy feeling lying heavy on my chest, and through my journaling this morning, I figured out what it was.
It’s the feeling of being less than.
Less than the mom whose kid has $120 shoes and packs his ultra healthy lunch in an organized box that matches his rolling bookbag. My son took his less than stellar lunch in a paper sack this morning because he left his lunch box at school yesterday. He was wearing his designer Walmart shoes.
Less than the mom who is travelling around the world speaking to thousands while still building loving relationships at home. The thought of speaking to crowds gives me hives, and I’m still figuring out how to balance everything at home.
Less than the author who is on the New York Times list. I didn’t quite make it.
Less than the mom who is at drop off at 7:45 a.m. with a full face of make-up and something other than yoga pants. I went through car line in my pajamas.
Less than the woman I see on screen with her toned arms and flat abs. My arms wave for several seconds after my hand stops waving.
Do you know what all this feeling less than does? It makes me ashamed. It makes me feel inadequate. It makes me feel like a failure as an author, a wife, a mom, a woman.
Not enough. Not enough. Not enough becomes the constant weight on my chest and all the inspirational stuff I’ve read so many times before about self-love and acceptance seems to get swallowed up by the monster of comparison. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I don’t look at the put-together mom and think “wow, you look so much better than me this morning” or at my friends who are doing really well in their fields and think “you are just way better than I’ll ever be.” No, I don’t compare out loud in my mind. It’s something that forms just beneath there, and I don’t realize it until I feel the weight.
Maybe you have that weight on your chest today. Maybe you even read my blog, books, or posts and think “she has this all figured out.” I assure you, I don’t. My life isn’t picture perfect, and I’m sure none of the above-mentioned moms, speakers, authors, and models have picture perfect lives either. What I perceive as their perfection is really just a glimpse of what they put out there and very, very far from the whole story.
So, remember this the next time you feel the weight of not enough. You are beautiful. Your imperfections don’t make you any less beautiful because beauty shines from the soul who shows up, who tries again, who loves another day. You are loved. That’s why you’re so worn out, mama. It’s because you are so very loved. How do you know which stuffed animal your child loves the most? The one that’s ragged and worn. Before I had kids, my eyes were brighter and my roots didn’t show, but I’m ragged and worn a bit now. I’ve been loved up real good. If you’re looking a little rough around the edges today, smile in the mirror and remember why.
When you realize that you’ve been comparing yourself to others, breathe in this truth – nothing compares to you. You are unique. No one else has your story. You are worthy and lovable no matter what mistakes you’ve made in the past. You have today, and it’s full of possibilities. To relieve the weight on your chest, count the blessings and joys before you. Repeat as often as needed.